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My client (an agency) is asking to have the Translation Memory for the work I am doing.
Thread poster: Rebecca Parker - Into English Ltd.

Rebecca Parker - Into English Ltd.  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:13
French to English
+ ...
Jun 28, 2007

Hello fellow translators!

I've recently started using Déjà Vu X.

Over the last few weeks, I've been working on a portion of a large project for a translation agency. Other portions of the project may be given to other translators because of deadline constraints with the end-client.

The translation agency have asked me: "If we have to use another translator, are you prepared to let such person have a copy of your translation memory so that all the researched work doesn´t go to waste or has to be repeated?"

I can see her point - it would give better consistency of terminology.

It seems to me that the work that went in to researching and producing my translation memory should not be given away lightly.

Can anyone tell me if it is normal to offer these files to clients AT A COST?

And if so, is there a rule of thumb for how much to ask for? (e.g. calculated from the number of words in the TM or perhaps in the project and in relation to the per word rate I charge for translation.)

I should perhaps add that I was provided with a (relatively small) TM when I started this project, passed on to the agency from a translator who had to drop out of the project. I have since added to the this file considerably with my own work.

Looking forward to any insights or anecdotes on the subject of charging for TMs.


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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:13
Italian to English
+ ...
Don't charge Jun 28, 2007

I don't use Deja vu, only Trados but the principle is the same.

If you had created the memory from scratch I would tell the agency to take a running jump, but since they passed a memory on to you (albeit a small one) and lots of translators are working on the project it would seem churlish to say no.
However, if the small memory was of no help (as is often the case) you could tell them that and say you'll be prepared to give advice on terminology to the other translators if they ask for specific terms, but you won't give them your TM.

I can absolutely see why you want to charge them for it, but you're not actually doing any extra work, just passing on a file.


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:13
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Sharing TMs Jun 28, 2007

I think it is fairly usual to "share" TMs, when several translators are working on the same project. I do not and would not charge for it, especially if the original TM was supplied by the agency. When you work on a big project with several translators and exchange TMs once in a while, you too benefit from it, not just the other translators.

The agency pays you for the translations. As the same translations are in your TM, so why should they pay twice for them?


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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 08:13
English to Spanish
Why not...? Jun 28, 2007

Give it to them and save them time. They can do it anyway based on your translation.


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Tony Keily  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:13
Italian to English
+ ...
Principle is good, but practice is hard Jun 28, 2007

I understand your hesitation. After months of producing translations in a highly-specialised area for an agency, I have discovered they are creating a glossary from my work and have even asked for my help, which I'll give them. But I can't help but think that this will enable them to offer the same work at a lower rate to someone much less qualified. I agree that in principle the very difficult initial research undertaken deserves a reward - at least loyalty.

On the other hand, there's little that can be done in practice.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:13
Italian to English
+ ...
Give it to them Jun 28, 2007

I've never understood this reluctance - which seems to be fairly common - not to share your TM. As Tadzio points out, if they really want it they can extract it anyway. And you've only created it because they have paid you to do a job for them. I really can't see why on earth anyone would refuse.

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:13
English to Dutch
+ ...
No big deal Jun 28, 2007

I agree with Tadzio and Marie-Hélène.

I always give my TM when asked for. I don't offer to send it when I'm not asked to do so.


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:13
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Standard practice Jun 28, 2007

Claire Titchmarsh wrote:

However, if the small memory was of no help (as is often the case) you could tell them that and say you'll be prepared to give advice on terminology to the other translators if they ask for specific terms, but you won't give them your TM.



And that will be the last time you will have worked for them...
Similarly, if you try to charge for you TM or place any conditions on their using your TM.

If you, without being specifically asked for it, compile a glossary, that would be a different issue.


Tony Keily wrote:
But I can't help but think that this will enable them to offer the same work at a lower rate to someone much less qualified.



I have never come across a situation where that was the case. On the contrary, my clients who request the TMs try their hardest to achieve top quality and consistency with projects of - usually big-name - end-clients with yearly updates.
It's also good to know that your "baby" will be comparatively safe in some other translator's hands if you can't work on it at some point because you're on vacation etc.


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Rebecca Parker - Into English Ltd.  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:13
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I'm seeing the pattern... Jun 28, 2007

Thanks for the insider info everyone - I see I could have inadvertently burnt some bridges if I hadn't sounded it out among the translation community first, so thanks once again

[Edited at 2007-06-28 17:58]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:13
Italian to English
And the $64,000 question is... Jun 28, 2007

Rebecca Parker - Into English Ltd. wrote:

Thanks for the insider info everyone - I see I could have inadvertently burnt some bridges if I hadn't sounded it out among the translation community first, so thanks once again

[Edited at 2007-06-28 17:58]


... who is maintaining the TM?

I don't actually work for many agencies, and only a couple want uncleaned Trados files, let alone translation memories (I also use DVX but in more than 15 years of translating professionally, no customer has ever bothered to ask whether I have a licence).

One Italian agency does, however, send me an updated Trados TM with each job as well as the files to be translated (almost always marketing bumph for the same company). This agency actually revises my uncleaned file - not always optimally IMHO, but that's another issue - and incorporates it into the client-specific TM. And since the agency is looking after the TM, it doesn't really matter whether I get the next job for that client or not.

While I am working, I naturally use my own TMs to give the agency the best translation possible, adding value by leveraging my work for all my other clients.

In a nutshell, the agency is doing its job by taking responsibility for TM maintenance and making sure the client's documents are as uniform and professionally written as possible, while I am doing mine by providing the best translation I can, partly on the basis of my legacy work.

FWIW

Giles


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Paul Malone  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:13
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Isn't one of the purposes of TM is to provide better service? Jun 29, 2007

End clients do not want to pay for the same text to be translated twice, which I consider to be perfectly reasonable.

Translation Memory (TM) software makes that possible, which is one of the reasons agencies offer it.

As Niina points out, the agency is paying for your translation, and as Tadzio says, your client can easily make a TM by aligning your translation. I believe that once clients have bought translations from you they are then entitled to do what they like with them, whether that means reusing the TM or extracting terminology from it.

Since I started using TM software I have willingly given TMs to clients in any form they like - unclean files, TM exports or whatever. I wouldn't dream of charging them extra as the TM is only the translation they've paid for in a different format.

Since I've been working with TM I have never been short of work and I believe there may well be a connection between willingly providing TMs to your clients and getting lots of repeat business.

I wonder how many other people see TM as (among other things) providing an extra service?


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:13
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Just a thought Jul 2, 2007

I agree with the majority opinion, don't charge.

On the other hand, if the other translator is going to do a fair chunk of the text, s/he may contribute to the TM, and you could benefit from that.
I would ask the agency about the possibility of receiving the final TM for the job, to have a complete reference.


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